Because their oldest son Logan had significant overlapping teeth, as well as being blind and having Asperger’s Syndrome, Jim and Linda Merrill were referred to Eastman Dental for his complex orthodontia treatment and special needs. Their daughter, Megan, had a gap in her front teeth and wanted braces, so the timing was right to take them both to Eastman Dental at the same time.
The three hour round trip from their home in Corning didn’t faze Jim, an engineer working for Corning, Incorporated, who loves to drive anyway, and says it’s a nice opportunity for family time.
“Linda and I agree that giving the gift of a perfect smile to our children is one of the greatest things we can give them that money can buy,” Jim said. “The beautiful smile is only a small part of what it eventually provides, which is higher self-esteem and self-confidence. The world looks at confident people with beautiful smiles in a much better light than they do if those same people had lower confidence and no smile at all.”
Around seven years after Megan arrived, came daughter Jami, and then Jessi two years later. When it was their time for braces, they checked out other orthodontists closer to home.
“We didn’t feel anyone was better than Eastman,” Jim said. “We understand the residents there are training to become orthodontists, and I think about the experienced faculty who are teaching and checking their work. Take an orthodontist who has been doing this job for 40 years and add to that the same number of years of overseeing others’ work. The faculty’s experiences are magnified enormously. I think it’s the best place to get braces.”
So once again, Jim and Linda enjoyed family time with Jami, age 17, and Jessi, age 15, over the last year and a half during the road trips to Rochester, along with visits with son Logan, who lives in Rochester, and stops at their favorite eateries that aren't in Corning, like Tom Wahl’s and LongHorn Steakhouse.
“Jami and Jessi are best friends. They often comment how nice their doctors are and how great their teeth look,” Jim added. “Eastman Dental has always showed us respect and caring.”
While the girls recently celebrated the removal of their braces, it did not mark the end of the regular trips to Eastman Dental for the Merrills.
“We decided it’s our turn,” said Jim, age 55. “I have always wanted braces but after my youth I thought I was too old. The differences I saw in my daughters and my son, not only in the way their teeth look but they became more confident and outgoing. I figured I could use some of that.”
Jim had his full set of braces installed in late February.
“I expected it to hurt more, but it really hasn’t,” Jim said. “I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to eat. I didn’t think about all the food getting caught and then unconsciously wanting to dig it out with my tongue!”
Linda, a Life Coach with Family Life Network, initially planned to get ceramic braces like Jim, but decided to go with Invisalign after discussing it with her orthodontist. “Now, after having them,” she said, “I am very pleased. It was a great fit for me, and by switching things up a bit in the family, having Invisalign has made it interesting and fun.”
Now the cherished family time during the Corning-Rochester commute has evolved into quality husband-wife time.
“I’m very excited to invest into our self-care and quality time together,” Linda added, “which has become a shared life-changing experience, as well.”